In an unexpected way an early morning walk brought to me a nice metaphor for how to think about research, which I have been struggling with since I come to doctoral studies from the art world, albeit having a master’s degree to ease my way into academic dryness. The metaphor is thinking about research as mycelium, in which there are a lot of underground connections that are just not ‘visible’ but that manifest here and there as mushrooms (texts, practices, teaching, situations, collaborations, intuitions, community engagements, performances, writings, readings, learnings, knowledges, scripts, syllabi, essays, gardens, tenderness, encounters and other material outcomes that can only come out into the world because there first are those connective tissues that run through the roots—or shoulders if we need to keep it anthropocentric—of a myriad beings). This vision made me happy from inside and I want to bring it into my ‘research’ as a live element, almost like the mother dough of sourdough, or the minute biota needed in any ferment for it to begin its ‘thing.’ In ferment as in knowledge production, there obviously is no origin, only originary relationalities and connections—genealogies and lineages that one chooses to bring to the fore and activate. In this way I can think of research as holding, tending for or creating the conditions of possibility for mushrooms to emerge.
Estuarian itineraries as research endeavor is necessarily transdiciplinary. It has been growing for some time as an expanded collaborative and individual effort yet its outcomes have not necessarily all been housed in one place. This is an attempt to make them all live somewhat together in the hope that they will cross-pollinate, weave together offshoots and generate thought and action-provoking processes, platforms and operations.